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Fallout Continues From Sony's North Korea Satire, 'The Interview'

Sony Pictures pulled "The Interview" from theatrical release after a damaging cyberattack from North Korea. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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Seven years ago, Sony Pictures Entertainment made a satirical comedy called “The Interview,” about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But not everyone laughed, including the North Korean government.

Sony was crippled by a sophisticated cyberattack, and federal prosecutors now say the North Korean hack was part of a broader scheme hatched by a Pyongyang intelligence agency called the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

In an indictment unsealed Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department alleged that three North Korean cybercriminals not only orchestrated the Sony attack, but also extorted more than $1.3 billion from banks and other businesses.

The hack not only shut down Sony’s IT network, but also made public thousands of embarrassing documents and emails that revealed Sony’s private business plans, petty squabbles and racist jokes. Sony did not release the film in theaters, but it is available on streaming services and DVD.

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Federal prosecutors on Wednesday alleged that the Sony breach was part of a larger state-sponsored cyberattack that extorted more than $1.3 billion from banks and other businesses around the globe.

It charged three men who worked as North Korean spies for orchestrating the enterprise and creating a destructive ransomware virus with the name WannaCry.

“What we see emerging uniquely out of North Korea is trying to raise funds through illegal cyber activities,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, who focuses on national security. “They use their cyber capabilities to try to get currency wherever they can do that, and that’s not something that we really see from actors in China or Russia or in Iran.”

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